Breaking News
More () »

The power of soup to heal the soul

Caroline Wright learned about the power of soup after a cancer diagnosis. Now she makes soup to benefit the Glioblastoma Foundation. #newdaynw

Soup is a go-to for many of us — on a chilly night or when we just need a bowl of comfort. But for cookbook author Caroline Wright, soup is more than delicious ingredients.

More than five years ago, Wright was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a very rare and incurable form of brain cancer.

As friends and family rallied to help, Caroline and her family requested soup. They put coolers outside of their house for people to drop off soup and the response was overwhelming. It nourished more than just their bodies, it nourished their souls.

Remarkably, Caroline, aka The Soup Lady, beat the odds and is cancer free after five years. She joined the show to make what else? Soup!

Pumpkin-Coconut Soup with Curry Leaves

Makes about 8 bowlfuls (or 4 quarts)

Stir in rotisserie chicken or raw cashews (soaked overnight) to add more protein like the cool kids.


  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (packed) curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin purée
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small kabocha squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeds removed, and cut into very large (3-inch) chunks
  • 4 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (from 1 small)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups full-fat coconut cream (from a carton, such as Aroy-D brand; sold in Asian markets)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Pumpkin seeds for serving, optional


  1. In a blender jar, combine garlic, ginger, onion, and 1/4 cup water; blend until smooth. Place next to the stove.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over high heat until hot; add curry leaves (they will spit and snap in the hot oil) and cook until they begin to brown (about 1 minute). Stir in curry powder, pumpkin purée, and reserved blended onion mixture. Add 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) water, stir, and season generously with salt (about 2 teaspoons). Cover and bring broth to a boil.
  3. Add kabocha and butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. Reduce heat to slowly simmer soup, uncovered and without stirring, until kabocha is tender when pierced with a knife and liquid has reduced to below the height of the squash by about 1/2 inch (about 1 hour). Stir in coconut cream and garam masala, gently breaking apart potatoes. Simmer soup until broth coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). Stir in lemon juice. Season soup with additional lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve soup topped with pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Homemade Curry Powder

Makes 1/2 cup

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seed
  • 1 (4-inch piece) cinnamon stick, crushed into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, crushed into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom


  1. In a small skillet, toast cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, peppercorns, and nutmeg until fragrant and beginning to brown. 
  2. Transfer toasted spices to a spice grinder and blend until finely ground.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in turmeric, ginger, and cardamom. 
  4. To store, transfer to an airtight container and place away from heat for up to 3 months.

Homemade Garam Masala

  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods, crushed slightly
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks, crushed into pieces
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, crushed into pieces
  1. Heat a small, heavy skillet (such as cast-iron) until hot; add peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  2. Toast spices until fragrant and beginning to brown (1 to 2 minutes). 
  3. Transfer toasted spices to a spice grinder and blend until finely ground. 
  4. To store, transfer to an airtight container and place away from heat for up to 3 months.

Excerpted from "Soup Club: 80 Cozy Recipes for Plant-Based Soups and Stews to Share" by Caroline Wright (Andrews McMeel)

Caroline sets up a soup stand the second Saturday of every month from Sept. to May. The stand is in front of The Book Larder in Fremont from noon and 3 p.m. All proceeds go to the Glioblastoma Foundation.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out